To read this content please select one of the options below:

Adopting the cloud: how it affects firm strategy

Sabine Khalil (ICD, Paris, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 22 November 2018

Issue publication date: 9 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role that cloud adoption plays in the strategies of large firms. As an innovative and transforming technology, cloud computing can have a significant impact on firms. It may propel them to adapt their existing strategies to survive in today’s unstable, rapidly expanding, digital environment.


The relationship between cloud computing and company strategy was explored through a qualitative research study. The author conducted 35 semi-structured interviews with business and IT stakeholders working in large French organizations.


Analysis of the results demonstrates that large cloud-adopting firms are driven by three main needs: a need to maintain their place in a highly competitive market, a need to implement innovative solutions and a need to lower costs.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this research include a number of contingency factors, such as the location of these firms (France) and their size (large). However, the academic literature does not address how adopting cloud services will affect the strategies used by large firms. Given the complex structures of these firms, it seems inevitable that they will adapt their strategies. This is highlighted by this study, which sheds light on the importance of the relationship between cloud adoption and company strategies.

Practical implications

This exploratory research study stresses the importance of companies adapting their strategies and enables business professionals to focus on redirecting their strategies when adopting cloud services. In addition, this study provides examples of the behavior of large firms in the French market.


Companies need to develop effective business strategies to survive, especially in today’s modern world. This paper shows that cloud adoption is leading firms to alter their strategies, and has led to the emphasis of three types of strategy: competition, innovation and cost reduction.



Khalil, S. (2019), "Adopting the cloud: how it affects firm strategy", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 28-35.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles